Business Operations: Minding Your Business Can Be Simple Way to Profit
Independent tire dealers are truly entrepreneurs.
Some have the past experience or education necessary to navigate the travails of being an independent businessperson in today’s world. Others rely on pure guts, guile and plenty of hard work, accepting that they will make mistakes along the way, and learning lessons from each miscue.
Both can survive, thrive and become quite successful. But there are no guarantees. To optimize your chances for long-term success and profitability, you need to become a smart, savvy and cutting-edge manager.
Do you have a business plan? How well do you understand it? Do you refer to it often, use it as a decision-making tool and update it every year, or does it sit in a desk drawer?
Every journey requires a map, not only to assure a safe arrival but to maintain a straight course during the trip. A business plan is a manager’s map, setting a starting point and an ultimate goal, and providing the guideposts needed to stay on track.
If you don’t have one today, you may not see many tomorrows. There are many inexpensive resources on the Internet and in local book stores that can show you how to construct a workable business plan.
Profit dollars lie in most all of your business-side operations. Insurance premiums, office equipment, shop equipment or facility leases, employee benefits, company vehicles, loans, credit lines and other business financing, and countless other items are ripe with profit dollars, either from reducing costs, taking advantage of tax breaks, reconsidering expenditures, or by properly evaluating their utility and return on your investment.
We’re not suggesting you need to do everything on the cheap. But without properly considering options or alternatives – and without the expert guidance of a tax-savvy accountant – you could well be leaving tons of bucks on the table.
Employee and Management Training
Fortunately, unlike tire dealers of yesteryear, there are many opportunities to sharpen your management skills and business knowledge. Your tire supplier may well offer business management seminars in addition to the all important sales and technical training programs they provide.
Business, sales and human resource management classes are also available through local adult education programs, as well as through community colleges and universities in your area. The money investment is minimal, considering the long-term benefits.
According to Tire Review’s 1999 Tire Dealer Profile study, only 79% of tire dealers claim to have a computer system for their shops. And only 66% use tire dealer-specific point-of-sale software.
Business computers have been available for over 15 years, and even top-of-the-line personal computers with basic accounting software can be had for less than $2,000 today. Computerizing your business – or applying better POS and back office software if you already have a computer system – can save you thousands each year. Think of the countless manhours wasted doing things manually, and the invaluable data lost on slips of paper and misplaced invoices, or because you simply have no means to capture and leverage information about your customers and your business.
How many of you have a well-annotated and written succession plan in the event you die or are disabled for an extended period? Without something in writing, your family will be in for protracted and unnecessary battles. And your business could suffer.
How well do your top and most trusted managers understand the inner working of your business? Will they be able to keep the doors open – and keep sales coming – if something happens to you? Take the time to train them today, because your tomorrow may well depend on how well they can perform.